"Music and laughter are things George clearly enjoys. A real gift to hear him sing and see him so happy."

When George was 11 months old he became ill and the hospital took spinal fluid and found he had meningitis.

"When I found out that he had cerebral palsy I was really shocked. Though he had not been well for a time, I didn’t expect it at all. I was stunned and scared. It affected me in terms of work and I had to give up my job as an occupational therapist to care for George. It was all so sudden."

Now 17, the cerebral palsy means that George can’t swallow, can’t stand up or walk, can’t use his hands and has learning disabilities. Mum said that he used to scream for hours and hours every day and found it very difficult.

"It was a really hard time, the shock of it all and the impact, it was almost like he had had a car crash. But  Richard House gives us a chance to do things as a family. As he has got bigger we just can’t physically move him in terms of going on trips together and so the facilities at Richard House are brilliant. It’s reassuring to know that when we leave him with the hospice that he is being well cared for and he is having a great time too."

George stills comes to Richard House for respite care giving his family the opportunity to rest and recuperate ready to look after him again.

"I remember the first time I came to drop George off for a residential stay, I was a little bit anxious about being away from him and a little bit sad. The day I came to pick him up was Mother’s Day and the nurses had placed some beautiful flowers on George’s lap.It was such touching moment."

Monica feels happy knowing that while they are away w he is having a great time. She values meeting lots of other families who are going through similar situations and enjoy time in a safe, non-judging, enjoyable environment, which is not always the case in many places with a disabled son. George’s sister Miriam goes to the sibling group at the hospice and both George’s sister and his brother Edward love coming to the family days and having fun, especially in the wonderful garden.

"George is really sociable so he loves being at Richard House. It’s a place the whole family can enjoy."